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Abergavenny Town Council.…

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Abergavenny Town Council. I BOXING IN THE MARKET HALL 1 PROTEST OF THE LOCAL CHURCHES. APPLICATION FOR ST. DUNSTAN'S REFUSED. k" A special meeting of the Abergavenny Town Council was UeM on Friday evening, when among the matters discussed was an application from Mr. B. Rees, of the George Hotel, for the use of the Market Hall on January loth for a boxing tournament on behalf of St. Dunstan's Strong opposition to the application was put forward by a deputation representing local churchcs and comprising the Rev. M. E. Davies, M.A. (Vicar of 3t Mary's), the Rev. J. P. Mill- ward (Presbyter;:1. Rev. E. Rowland (Primi- tive Methodist), Mr. Alfred Williams, St. Arvans, and Mr. j as. Harrison. Some Reasons. The Rev. J. P. Millvvard, who opened the opposition, said that they were there as a deputation from the churches of Abergavenny to ask the Councii not to allow their propertyâ or our property," said the rev. gentlemanâ to be used for, he hardly knew what to say, boxing purposes, or a prize fight or anything of the kind. They were not going to quibble over 1 the use of words, but, being courteous, he would call it 0 boxing tournament. They would give reasons why the town's property should not be used for such purposes. They might adduce a cogent argument, if it were necessary, from the point of view of industry. They knew very well that one of the magic words nowadays was production, and everything which encouraged production was ? great good, and everything which did not encourage it was a great evil.' Boxing meant training, training meant absentee- ism, and absenteeism naturally meant non- production. On the signing of the armistice there were joyous times in our country, and immediately afterwards M. Clemenceau addressed a large number or people, and he said, And now to work, to work, to work." Again, if it were necessary they could adduce some cogent reasons from the point of view of their women folk. lie could easily imagine that there were some men who would not hesitate to go to a boxing tournament, but he was confident that they would not allow their wives to attend. He could easily imagine that if such a man's wife suggested that she might attend, his feelings would be outraged, and if his daughters suggested that they might attend, he could easily imagine that he would be quite outraged. Another strong argument might be given, if necessary, from the point of view of the boys attending their schools, particularly the bigger boys. One of the ideals of their present-day education was good citizenship, and another one was character, the end and aim of education being to develop good men and good women, and he put it to them that he did not think there was a member of the Council or a self-respecting'man in Aber- gavenny who would like his boy to appear on the dais on which these matters were settled. It was all very well to see other boys box, but he was confident that there was no man in Aber- gavenny who would like to see his boy one of the combatants. Those were their arguments. "Not Good Enough." They were there on moral and religious grounds. They were representing the churches, and what they wished to say was that the well- being of Abergavenny was very dear to them. What they wished to say was that these things were not good enough, everything considered. The times were very peculiar. They knew exactly the things which had happened. They knew what had been done in the great war, and the splendid heroism of the men, but, remember- ing the moral and spiritual well-being of Aber- gavenny, they were not quite good enough, he was sorry to say. If he might be allowed to be a little bit personal, the report of the tournament was not good enough. He held in his hands a report of the last tournament in Abergavenny. He would say nothing about his feelings, but he would give them extracts from the report in the Chronicle." He took it for granted that it was correct. Vincent displayed quite a classy style, and scored repeatedly with a lightning left, varied occasionally with a right swing." Then they read the words Brought off two good uppercuts," and He was evidently trying hard for the knock-out." Those were the words Lightning left. right swing, uppercut, and knock-out." Then they read Vincent, in accepting the cup, said that it was the first that he had won, and he would treasure it. He was learning to fight, not to speak." Remembering their responsibilities to the young men-and they talked very eloquently about the young men being a great asset-he said that from the point of view of humanity it was not good enough. That was the week before Christmas, and all of them would be wishing one another a very happy New Year-and he would like to wish the Council a very happy New Year and a very Merry Christmas. Some of them, in all probability, would go to the churches, and one of the lessons would be about the visit of the Wise Men from the East, and they would sing the hymn Glory to God in the highest, Peace on earth, Goodwill toward men." And then they proposed to have a boxing tournament. They were pretty adaptable, but it was difficult to reconcile the two. Considering the well- being of the town as a whole, and the moral and spiritual uplifting, particularly of the women, girls and boys, he asked them not to allow boxing to take place on their property. Against Professional Sport. I The Rev. M. E. Davies said that it was with very great difficulty that he had come there. He had come there because his conscience would not allow him to stay away. He was asked quite late if he would come, and he was not ready to come at the time. One reason for not being ready to come was that he was on the Hospital Committee one day last week, and an application came in asking whether the com- mittee would accept the proceeds of an assault- at-arms for the Hospital funds. His opinion was asked, and he gave it as his opinion that he could not condemn boxing in itself, because from a military point of view it was probably a necessity. If one was learning to fight, he had to learn to fight as a boxer as well as with the sword, but he would absolutely vote against it if there was any money in it for the combatants. If thev were doing it merely as a sport, in order to give the money to the Hospital, he would raise his hand in favour of accepting it. It had occurred to him that it was going to be a much bigger thing, and that it was the beginning of a big movement to hold b ixing contests frequently in the Market HaH. He objected to all forms of sport for money-making, and he believed that sport ceased to be sport the moment there was money h it. He even objected to all profes- sional football, as a matter of, fact,- on that ground. When people played or boxed for money, the money or the prize counted for more than the sport. He did not like the idea of people learning to watch ethers instead of learn- ing to box themselves. Let every man learn to box but he did not agree with the cowards who looked on. There were plenty of opportunities for physical culture in Abergavenny, such as the football field. Exhibitions of the kind they had did not seem to him ever likely to lead to much geod People would be imported into the town for this purpose, because there were not sufficient lads in ^Abergavenny to provide sport for the town in boxing. He presumed that experts would be brought in from other places, and he did not see much in that, because it produced the professional class of boxers. The man who was willing, for pure sport, to box without getting paid for it might be a due man, but he was con- vinced that the prize counted for more than any- thing ds He did realise that the men who had been in the war had been used to box, and they could not help feeling that they wanted it now, and they felt that it might be a means of making monev for a ch.b for themselves. There were men in Abergavenny who were willing to give. They should give because they wanted to give. If the wanted a cluil, let them try to pro- vide it for them because they wanted to help them Ys a means of making money he ob- jected to these contests, as it was not a thing which was going to do good to the town. Mr" Harrison said the deputation had come for a good purpose. ¡,;1\ he sincerely noped that their coming would not be in vain. "Degrading Exhibition." I Mr. Alfred Williams said that as a burgess of the town, as well as one of the deputation, he felt thai the exhibition recently helft was de- cradin" "nd for the sake of the honour of the toWII Ad -he high standard in which he as one of tfie burgesses, wished it to remain, he thought that they wourd do very much better to do without these things. His earliest recollections of such pugilistic encounters remained with him to this day, and they were abhorrent. It ap- pealed to their lowest passions and instincts. The art of boxing or self-defence might be very estimabie, but when money was imported into it, and people from a distance came to the town to see an exhibition of this sort, they, as a respect- able town, should keep free of it, and he trusted that they would refuse this and other applica- tions which might come before them. It could not be for the reason that a little was added to the revenue of the town. They were far above that. He trusted that this would be the last occasion on which they would have to appeal to the Council to discountenance and refuse such an application. Councillor Owers said that he very much en- joyed boxing as a lad, but he never fought for money. He coupled himself with the Vicar of St. Marj-'s. He always fought for the sport, and enjoyed it whether he won or lost. He quite agreed that when money did come into it it played a prominent part. One thing he hoped was that the churches would make a move, because during the whole of his career in Aber- gavenny, he was sorry to say, they had not made a move, and it had always been left to what might 'perhaps be called the lower element of the town to provide the necessary enjoyment or entertainment for the young men of the town. The application from Mr. B. Rees wathen read. Councillor Telford said that he voted against boxing in the Market Hall originally, but when the application from the Comrades came forward he supported it. He was given to understand that it was in order to enable these men to raise funds for some of their purposes. He said then, and he said now, that if those who were re- sponsible for the last tournament had appealed to the people of Abergavenny there were a number who would have been pleased to help them with a subscription rather than that they should be helped by a tournament in the Market Hall. He f jr one would have been pleased to support them to the best of his ability. He did not say that the noble art of self-defence ought to be done away with altogether, but there were certain aspects which did not appeal to him, particularly when it was a question of brute strength. He proposed that they do not enter- tain the application for the Market Hall on this particular date. Councillor Rosser asked if they were going to have full-dress debates on every application that came up. He wished that Councillor Telford had proposed that the Market Hall be not let for boxing on any occasion. Councillor Graham said that if they put it in that form it would be very awkward if the Council wanted to settle differences in that wav. It was not right to pass a resolution that they might not be able to keep. The gentlemen who applied for the hall recently were a substantial body of burgesses, and they had a perfect right to put forward their application, just as others could put forward their application that it be not used He should like to deal with matters on their merits and according to what the objects were. "Flabby Degenerates." I Councillor Rosser said that they wanted to know where they were and whether they were going to let the Market Hall for boxing or not. He was not a kill-joy. They had promoted many things for the public weal in the town. He had himself conducted gvmnastic classes. He went to see the recent exhibition for himself, with an open mind, and he must say, candidly, that he would never vote for a repetition of it. It was conducted very well indeed. He had no complaint to make of the organisation, but he had to complain that at a time when people found it very hard to pay for the necessities of life they should import into the town family menâhe should say they were flabby degenerates -who were imported by chars-a-bauc at the cost of 15s. per head and put down 12S. 6d. for admission to a boxing tournament. The ten- dency to-day was to shirk parental responsi- bility and throw everything on the State. Those who came and spent a matter of 2 to see boxing on a Saturday night had something better to do with their money, if they were family men. He did not want to encourage it. They knew the men who would assemble round a boxing ring. He himself heard I will put £ 10 on Morgan." He did not know whether they were £ 1,000 colliers from Ebbw Vale or not, but they had something else to do with their money at a time when money was what it was. It was not a matter of Nonconformist conscience, but a matter of what was right. As a respectable section of the -community had made an appeal to them not to let the Market Hall for boxing, he proposed that the public property of Aber- gavenny be not let hereafter for boxing purposes. Alderman Delafield pointed out that they had five members of the Council absent. Councillor Plowman said that as chairman of the Markets Committee they would be very glad to have a definite ruling from the Council. Councillor Telford said he would second Councillor Rosser's porposition. Councillor Meale said that they were there as representatives of the people, to do the best they could for the ratepayers, irrespective of any section or denomination. How were they to reduce the rates unless they let the public build- ings ? It was all very well to bring sentimental reasons into it, but they were there to represent the whole of the ratepayers, and not a section. He moved as an amendment that the Market Hall be let for boxing. Councillor Tong moved, as a further amend- ment, that in future all applications for boxing on the property of the Town Council be decided on their merits. Councillor Trevor Jones seconded. Sanitation, Not Ethics. Councillor Tong said that if they were asked to lay down certain rules of ethics for the people of Abergavenny he was not sent there for that. He was sent there to see to the drains and streets. He would move a vote of thanks to the gentle- men who had come and put their point of view before them, but as to tying down the Corpora- tion to anything like that, he would not be a party to it. If the burgesses could not trust him to decide applications on their merits they could chuck him and put someone else in his place. The amendment that each application be decided on its merits was carried by six votes to three. Councillor Tong said that what he wanted to know in connection with each application was who the promoters were, what the object was, what the prizes were, who was the referee, etc. Councillor Ileale moved an amendment that it be granted. Councillor Graham said that they had recently had an application for a tournament, and no information was put forward. This was an attempt at evasion by stating that it ,was for a certain object. Councillor Telford said that in face of the resolution they had just passed the application was automatically lost. Councillor Rosser said that they could not vote on the application, because thev had not the necessary particulars. Tr! Councillor Tong sa" I that Councillor Rosser was asking for trouble. There was not a word in the letter about what they wanted to know, and the proposition was that the application be not e'nt^tXd 'hat "'e Mr. B. Rees, who was in the room, rose and commenced to say that he was the'writer of the letter, when Councillor Graham jumped up on a point of order and said that he had not had the consent of the Chairman or the Council to speak. Councillor Owers said that if they thought that the object of the last tournament was good, lie did not see how they could sav that the present objeect was not good. They should have settled it once for all, one way or the other. Councillor Meale's amendment was not seconded, and the proposition that the applica- tion be not entertained was carried by seven votes to one. -âââ â¼ Blackwood s, Pettitt's, Renshaw's, and other Pocket Diaries, from 3d. to 5s. each.âM Morgan & Co., Chronicle Office. i ââââ A ââââ

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